Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence, outlined his intentions with regards to the UK’s post-Brexit defence relationship with the EU.
Allan Dorans, the Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, asked the Secretary of State for Defence:
“What plans he has for future military and security co-operation with EU (a) institutions and (b) member states.”
Ben Wallace, The Secretary of State for Defence, replied:
“Although we are leaving the EU defence structures, we remain committed to the security of Europe and will continue to co-operate with the EU and European nations on a bilateral or multinational basis on shared threats and challenges. We do not need an institutionalised relation with the EU to do so. The defence settlement reaffirms our position as Europe’s leading power, with the second highest defence budget in NATO, providing leadership and the ability for investment to help to drive forward NATO’s adaptation.”
Dorans then asked:
“Any major conflict will require UK forces to be able to work collaboratively and fully with EU forces in the future. What steps has the Secretary of State taken to ensure that that is possible through access to the European Defence Standardisation Committee, which replaces the former Materiel Standardisation Group?”
Wallace replied, explaining that NATO is the authority on military standardisation.
“The leader in the field of standardisation has always been NATO, with the setting of NATO standards, which have let us interoperate with our allies the United States and all the other nations of Europe. It would be wrong to abandon that to adopt another approach. We all know in Europe, whatever part of the EU debate one is in, that the United States is the cornerstone of European security, and that is why NATO is so important.”